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Approved Research

Characterizing brain changes across the life span - a missing link to cognitive dysfunction

Principal Investigator: Dr Saima Hilal
Approved Research ID: 71022
Approval date: April 12th 2021

Lay summary

Aim: It has been suggested that brain changes across the life span are strong predictors of cognitive functioning at older ages. Unfortunately, there is no data on brain damage across the life span in both Asian and European countries. We aim to find causes for cognitive dysfunction in the multi-ethnic populations from Singapore and UK and identify individuals who might be at high risk of cognitive decline and other clinical events. We will study early-aged, middle-aged, and late-life individuals by using the information on their lifestyle, blood tests, and brain MRI scan. We will then link these data with information on cognitive function. We will also study how changes in lifestyle, brain, and blood markers affect cognition over time and increase the risk of cognitive decline.

Scientific rationale: we will be able to identify factors and processes that determine why some people develop cognitive impairment and others do not develop this disease. This knowledge will inform the development of strategies for health promotion, and the design of personalized interventions tailored to the individual's specific behavioral risks such as lifestyle modification.

Project duration: 3 year period

Public health impact: This research will identify new opportunities to improve public health policies, resulting in better interventions and management of cognitive decline at an early stage. This will enable clinicians to make earlier diagnoses, identify those at risk, and prevent the development of cognitive decline according to the risk profile in precision aging public health.